Glimmering star: A review of Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon

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Dylan Barbeau, Staff Writer

I want you to go back and think about the year 2017. The previous year was the 20th anniversary of Pokemon. Generation 7 had begun with Sun and Moon, and Pokemon Go was losing interest rapidly until the COVID Era. In the shadows of a large celebration, debatably the best games in the franchise since the DS era (not saying X/Y, Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire, or Sun/Moon aren’t good) were released, and it was known as Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.

One thing that these games do well at is having a good sense of difficulty that the other 3DS-era games do not. Multiple trial fights can easily wipe out your team if you don’t have the right resources, such as ones from the first game like Totem Lurantis or Totem Kommo-o, or others exclusive to this game like Totem Togedumaru or Totem Marowak. Of course, I can not be a good game reviewer without mentioning a certain boss fight near the end, but that is a major spoiler so I will not discuss it here. All I would suggest is that catching a Zorua at the trainer’s school near the beginning may be helpful, but is definitely not mandatory to beat the game.

Another thing I think these games do well is the connections you build with your beloved monsters are stronger than in other games. This may also apply to the original Sun and Moon, but the Pokemon Refresh option is a really good way of bonding with your beloved Pokemon. This is a minor spoiler so it won’t be that detailed, but you do have a nice moment with your starter (Rowlet, Litten, Popplio in these games) near the end, which is nice.

Now, like all art, this game has some problems. The plot, while good, is not as strong as S/M. The characters are kind of downgraded (except Hau, the laid-back rival, who gets more character development). The cutscenes are overly long and egregious, and the beginning tutorials are the worst in terms of length and quantity (the last two are also present in S/M, but they still apply to this game). To be fair, this game was made by a secondary team, so I guess there was not a lot of wiggle room.

On a final note, while maintaining some of the flaws of the games that precede it, the highs of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are among the best in the franchise. If you find your old 3DS, find a 3DS at a reasonable price, or own both the console and game, I suggest for you replay it or play it for the first time.

Final Score: 4.5/5 Paws